Masthead CMC Magazine / February 1, 1996
 The Electronic Colonization of the Pacific, by Spennemann, Birckhead, Green, and Atkinson

Economic Inequities

There is also a micro-economic aspect to the question of access. Indeed, not all indigenous people or micro states will necessarily enjoy equal access to Internet technologies in the first instance. Cost factors in the provision of hardware, infrastructure, and software will no doubt exclude many such peoples from the possibility of even possessing and using such technologies. Moreover, cost may limit use and possession to local elites with the effect of strengthening their privilege.

Much has been made of the relatively poor saturation of many developing countries with computers. The rapid technological developments disadvantage developing countries, where average household income levels are such that the purchase of a US$1,500 computer is out of the question. The small Pacific Island countries have an economic basis reliant on outmigration and returning remittances, foreign bilateral and multilateral aid, small tourism revenue and some cash crop or mineral exports (cf. Odgen 1994c). Computer networks are limited and commonly do not even permeate the country's government at the LAN level. Since the external communications networks are owned by multinational companies, communications charges contribute to the foreign debt of the nations, a factor which mitigates against the development of large, government-funded networks hooked up to the Web.

A recent (September 1995) survey of the register of World Wide Web servers in the Pacific Area (excluding Australian and New Zealand servers) prepared as part of this paper has shown that there are extremely few servers: While a number of Pacific Island countries have their own universities or offshoot campuses of the University of the South Pacific of the College of Micronesia, servers are limited to the University of Guam, the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and, of course, Hawaii, where web servers are maintained by the Hawaii Community College, Brigham Young University, Hawaii Pacific University and the University of Hawaii. --

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